After dominating their first two series of the year, the Arizona Diamondbacks were humbled slightly in a chilly weekend series that saw the Colorado Rockies take two of three games in Denver.
It was the D-Backs' vaunted bullpen that coughed up Friday and Saturday's one-run losses, 7-6 and 8-7, respectively. And on Sunday, manager Kirk Gibson used five relief pitchers in the eighth inning alone to stave off the Rockies and hang on to a 5-2 win.
On Friday, the D-Backs jumped out to 6-2 lead, which eventually was erased by Todd Helton's two-run single. Helton struck again in the eighth, ripping a run-scoring, tie-breaking double off reliever Brian Shaw, who had been nearly perfect on the young season.
On Saturday, Helton struck again, this time against D-Backs closer J.J. Putz, who boasts four saves already but also sports a rather bloated 5.79 earned-run average. Helton took Putz deep with a two-run walk-off homer, giving the Rockies the 8-7 victory.
The bullpen actually locked it down on Sunday afternoon. Shaw, especially, recovered from his loss Friday to halt a eighth-inning rally by getting Ramon Hernandez to ground out with the bases loaded. Shaw pitched a flawless ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.
Through it all, centerfielder Chris Young continued on his torrid season-opening pace, racking up four more RBI to up his season total to 11. He also has four home runs, two stolen bases, and a .363 batting average.
Tonight, the Diamondbacks will open a 10-game homestand with a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Erik Bedard (0-2) will pitch for the Pirates, and Joe Saunders (0-0) will go for the D-Backs. In his only other start of the season, Saunders pitched seven scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres, striking out four batters. He took a no-decision in the start.
First pitch is 6:40 p.m. at Chase Field. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.